Being nineteen and on summer vacation means I should be spending time driving around with my friends, going out, and having fun. After all, I only have a few weeks left until I go back to Emerson and start my sophomore year of college! I’ve got to make the time I have here with my friends worthwhile.
The other night, my friends and I went to the local bar to watch our friend’s mom perform. We love supporting each other’s families, so whenever we get the chance, we go to this woman’s gigs and cheer her on as she sings with her band. It was really a cute time; my best friend and I split guacamole and chips, and we jammed out together, and our friend’s dad covered our bill (he is the nicest man alive).
However, everything changed when I made a fatal mistake. I ate a trigger food.
Dun dun DUN.
I saw a brownie sundae on the menu, I had been having a good couple of weeks with my stomach, and I have already given up so many foods for my stomach. Surely I could eat this one thing? After all, I only ate half of it! No harm, no foul.
About ten minutes after I stopped eating the sundae, I got the feeling. You know, the feeling where something is suddenly horribly wrong with your stomach and if you don’t make it to the bathroom within a nanosecond you will most likely poop your pants. My stomach cramped up and I began to do my best Lamaze breathing. I quickly excused myself and ran to the bathroom.
Now, I don’t want to get graphic; nobody likes talking about poop. So all I’ll say is that my stomach was not happy with me, and I probably lost a pound or two right then and there. At this point, I began to panic. Whenever my stomach gets like this, I begin to sweat from a mix of illness and embarrassment, and this time was no exception. To make matters worse, this bar had a one-person bathroom, meaning that if anyone else needed to go, I was holding them up. But hey, I’ve dealt with this hundreds of times. I’m a pro by now, right? I finished up, and went back to the table, thinking that everything was past me and I could continue with my night.
I popped back into the conversation going on at my table, trying to pretend like I wasn’t still sweating. My stomach still wasn’t 100%, but it probably wouldn’t be for the rest of the night. I thought I could sit through the rest of the night, but another ten minutes passed and my stomach began to cramp again. I frantically texted my sister to come pick me up before running back to the bathroom.
This whole story isn’t something new; I often have to leave events early or miss them all together because I’m having a bad stomach day, or I’ve eaten something that I didn’t know was a trigger food until it was too late. And to be quite frank, it sucks. I was upset when I got home and wrote the following in my diary:
“I hate this, I just want to have a normal night and eat what I want without having to worry that I’m going to get sick.”
And that’s a sentiment that I feel every single day. A friend will text and ask if I want to grab coffee with them, and I either have to turn them down or sit around awkwardly while they enjoy their drink, since coffee is a trigger for me. Hell, I dated a guy who loved coffee more than anything else, and all I wanted to do was be a part of something he was passionate about, but if I drank more than a sip of coffee I would have to end the date early. My friends will go grab sushi, while I either stay home or scramble to find something that I can eat. Planning breakfast is a nightmare, since pretty much everything except pancakes is a trigger food for me, and casual ice cream runs do not exist. Most of the time, I’m using the phrase “I’ll come along for the ride” just so that I don’t end up missing out. And it sucks.
Yes, I understand that a lot of this is nitpicky and I should just suck it up and move on. But it’s disheartening to spend the part of your life that is supposed to be the “best” tiptoeing around everything just to make sure I don’t get sick. It breaks my heart to have to turn down my friends because I’m not sure how anything will affect my health. Because how long will it be before my friends stop inviting me to do things with them since they know I’ll get sick? How long until people get tired of catering to the sick girl? I don’t know, I just think back to how miserable and depressed I was when my illness was at its peak, and I’m beyond terrified that I’ll end up back in that place.
But I also know that I need to take more responsibility for my illness. I can’t go around eating brownie sundaes just because I’ve been feeling good for a couple of weeks. Because the reality of my situation is I can get sick again at a moments notice, and I need to begin adjusting my diet and eating better so that I prolong my good spells as long as possible.
And hey, at least we know now that if I ever were to ingest something toxic, you can just shove a brownie sundae down my throat and my body will quickly purge everything out of me.